The Importance of Company Culture When Building a Successful Digital Sales Engagement Program

Processes and tools matter, but if you can't build a company culture that understands social media, your program is going to struggle.

Despite the ubiquitous nature of social media, there are still sceptics.

Nurturing your company culture to encourage positive attitudes towards social media is an essential step toward building a successful social media program. Educating your staff on the benefits of social media to achieve their business goals, rewarding your staff for their successes on social and encouraging cross-departmental learning will help promote a more positive approach to your social selling program.

Here are some of the most successful ways we've seen companies build pro-social attitudes.

Clearly define what's considered acceptable use of social media

Do your staffers tab out of LinkedIn when they see management coming? Is social media still regarded as a personal activity not a business related one? By setting clear guidelines about what is considered an acceptable use of social media, employees will be more willing to adopt social as an important tool in their sales arsenal.

Your management, and their teams, need to be clear on the fact that time spent on social media can be work-related. There are tools that are making social media management easier, but doing it right still demands a time investment from your users. If they feel like the time spent developing relationships and growing their leads through social media comes out of me time and not out of work time, they're going to be reluctant to use your program.

Worries that social media might reduce productivity are common in some companies, but don't have any basis in truth. Your users are driven by success; they won't spend all day doing something that doesn't secure clients for their book of business. That's why it's important to openly encourage the use of social media at work and to highlight successes at your company.

Take the time to highlight success

Skeptics of your social media program can be easily convinced of its benefits if you show them what success on social media looks like.

Highlighting successes is the single most important thing you can do to drive adoption and create positive attitudes toward social media. First, the showcasing of star users makes it clear to everyone that succeeding at social means succeeding at the company. Public congratulations from your leadership is a very effective tool in influencing culture. Second, success stories can help to convince sceptics at every level of business. Impressive results matter for getting everyone onboard. Finally, success stories help you to demonstrate the value of the program to the leadership, which helps to drive top down change.

To build these kinds of stories, it is important to focus on individuals. Stats are important but in order to influence attitudes and change behaviours, it is far more effective for your users to see how their peers are using the program to achieve success. Personal success stories are far more aspirational for your user base. It also promotes an individual, which makes it clear that succeeding on social is a good way to improve your reputation and status at the company.

You should also be sure to include the metrics that your users really care about. Did your top social user bring in a million dollar account? Tell people. It's going to take results such as an increase in dollars and clients to convince sceptical colleagues, not likes, follows or clicks.

Use success stories to teach

Success stories matter for building positive attitudes and convincing doubters, but those aren't the only people who need to be persuaded. A portion of your workforce will be convinced social can work, but they won't see how it can work for them. To overcome this doubt, use your successes to teach other users about the benefits to social selling.

You can find countless articles about how to use social media for business, but very few of them get down to a tactical level. Even fewer will be relevant to your industry and situation.

Since your success stories are unique to your situation, they will be immediately relevant to your users. And if you write them down, you can take the opportunity to drill down to the tactical level and give less experienced users a playbook to emulate.

Ask your employees exactly what they did. What stage of buyer were they engaging using social media? How did they engage them? How did they find content to share with that specific buyer? The answers to these questions will probably change every time: what's important is that you build an internal discourse about how best to use social media, and create an environment where learning to do it well is encouraged. That environment will encourage late-stage adopters to learn more and try new things instead of reverting to tactics that don't include social media.

Incorporate the rest of your culture

These elements can help your company culture to drive social media success, but this is not an exhaustive list. Your company culture was already established before you started the program, so try to incorporate elements of that culture into your new social program.

If your workplace is competitive, test out a social media leaderboard. If charitable causes are a part of your company's identity, give employees an easy way to showcase that on social and be proud of their accomplishments.

If you can integrate social media into what people already love about working at your company, you'll make it a lasting part of the culture. Pulling that off is challenging, but it will ensure that your company adopts new tools quickly, and stays social in the long term.

Got more questions? Say [email protected] or tweet at us @Grapevine_6 and we'd be happy to continue the conversation.